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PSC okays plan to use natural gas for enhanced oil recovery

The Public Service Commission has okayed what’s been described as a “pilot project” for enhanced oil recovery in the Bakken.

Continental Resources will be building a 3.1 mile natural gas pipeline, to bring the gas from WBI’s pipeline to the Buddy Domingo oil wellpad in Williams County. The gas will be used for enhanced oil recovery.

PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak said Continental will be using what’s been dubbed the “Huff and Puff” method for enhanced oil recovery.

"That means injecting solvent — that's the 'huff' part," Fedorchak said. "That takes about three months."

Fedorchak said the "puff" means when the oil and solvent flow back. She said that will also take a three month period.

"I believe they go through this process three or four times to complete it," Fedorchak said.

Fedorchak said Continental will use this pilot project to determine the technical and economic viability of enhanced oil recovery in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. She said Continental is hopeful that this will be successful.

"They've done some of this in other fields in other states, and have had pretty strong success," Fedorchak said. "They estimate that the increase in oil production could be anywhere from 25 to 60 percent over what they would expect without this method."

The company hopes to have this built yet this year. The cost of the project is just over $3.3 million.

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